After the launch of its own brand tablet, the Hudl, UK supermarket Tesco is hitting the headlines for another reason. We are all used to the irksome familiarity of watching adverts on TV and online, they are hard to avoid. But the retailer is turning things on their head slightly by introducing advertisements that watch customers.
Well, that's not strictly true, but it's an interesting way of looking at what is happening. Just as the likes of Google tailor advertisements to web users, Tesco is looking to ensure that the ads its customers see are relevant. The fuel stations found at many branches of the supermarket are soon to be home to personalized ads courtesy of Amscreen.
The latest Edward Snowden bombshell that the National Security Agency has been hacking foreign Google and Yahoo data centers is particularly disturbing. Plenty has been written about it so I normally wouldn’t comment except that the general press has, I think, too shallow an understanding of the technology involved. The hack is even more insidious than they know.
The superficial story is in the NSA slide (above) that you’ve probably seen already. The major point being that somehow the NSA -- probably through the GCHQ in Britain -- is grabbing virtually all Google non-spider web traffic from the Google Front End Servers, because that’s where the SSL encryption is decoded.
This week Google put an end to all the speculation and finally launched not only the Nexus 5 but also the new version of Android -- KitKat. There were no great surprises as there had been so many leaks prior to launch that we knew pretty much everything there was to know, but it was good have the rumors confirmed. Expect a full review in the very near future. The Nexus 5 comes with KitKat preinstalled, but it will also be available as an upgrade for a number of other handsets. As it this wasn't quite enough for Google, the company also donated 17,000 Nexus 7s to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.
After the recent announcement, the iPad Air went on sale, and Logitech was ready with a series of cases.
PhrozenSoft’s VirusTotal Uploader has been updated to version 3.0, and there’s plenty of useful new functionality to explore.
You no longer have to launch the program as an administrator, for instance. You’ll still be able to upload most files to VirusTotal, get a verdict on whether they’re malware, and if you do run into any limitations then the program can be elevated at any time.
Back at the start of the month, Adobe reported that the company’s network had suffered a breach and that as a result the accounts of 2.9 million customers had been compromised. Sounds bad? It's worse than first thought. And not just a bit worse; much, much worse. Upon further analysis of the figures Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity puts the numbers at 38 million user accounts.
We reported the security breach at the time, and it is amazing to discover that the figure of 2.9 million affected users is in fact more than ten times as high. So how could the figures have been misread to such an extent? Apparently, many of the directories of data were password protected, making it difficult to give precise numbers at the time.
Microsoft has released its latest Security Intelligence Report detailing the threat intelligence gathered from more than a billion systems worldwide.
With Windows XP support due to end in April 2014 the report takes a close look at the risks posed to consumers and businesses of using unsupported operating systems. According to StatCounter, XP and older systems still account for around 21 percent of those in use.
Organizations face a constant challenge to balance keeping their systems secure against the time taken to maintain that protection. Security specialist Sophos has announced an answer to this problem in the form of a product that can be managed from the cloud, providing a simplified approach combined with protection from the latest threats.
Sophos Cloud provides endpoint protection for all sizes of enterprise but because it's cloud-managed it can protect users regardless of physical location. This makes it attractive for companies that have multiple sites or a home-based workforce.
Security research firms frequently test browsers to see how good they are at protecting users from malware and phishing attacks. The results show you how secure (or otherwise) the latest versions are, but don't give you any real indication of how well they might perform in the future.
Identifying trends in performance is important, particularly for companies thinking of switching browsers, so NSS Labs evaluated the security of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari by aggregating results from phishing and socially engineered malware (SEM) attack tests conducted between 2009 and 2013.
CAPTCHA are a thorn in the side of web users. Those almost indecipherable string of letters and numbers that are meant to help websites determine that you are a human rather than a spambot often cause more frustration for users than anything else, and they have now been cracked.
Vicarious, a California-based AI team, reveals that it has been able to develop algorithms that can successfully solve CAPTCHAs from the likes of Google, Yahoo and PayPal.
The latest web service to fall victim to a hack attack is Buffer, the social sharing tool that can be used to schedule posts to multiple social networks. Although it looks as though customers' passwords and billing details are safe, the problem was noticed late Saturday morning when spam type posts started to appear on users' Facebook and Twitter accounts. The Buffer team has been quick to take action and notified users via Facebook.
Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich posted saying "hey everyone! We greatly apologize for this big mess we've created. Buffer has been hacked." Shortly after this Facebook postings were disabled in a bid to stop the spread of spam and Buffer assured users that "We're continuing to work on this and trying to investigate and fix".
In recent months, the US has been at the root of the global EMV discussion (the name EMV comes from Europay, MasterCard and Visa). With adoption of the new standard slow-going, the US is one of the last major economies to make the transition. As a result, it has found itself on the receiving end of fraud migrating from mature EMV markets, exposing itself as a point of weakness for fraudsters.
In 2012, 20 US states reported an increase in ATM fraud via skimmed cards according to analytics vendor Fico. Meanwhile, EMV in the UK has seen overall card fraud decrease from $275 million in 2009 to just $68 million in 2012, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Despite this, the UK is still plagued by skimmers, with attempts to steal card holder data from ATMs almost tripling, from 2,553 to 7,525 incidents over the past year. Fraudsters can use data from the mag-stripe, which remains on Chip-enabled cards, to then clone cards and use them where mag-stripe payments are still accepted. Therefore, as long as regions such the US continue to accept mag-stripe cards to withdraw cash, there will remain a global issue of fraud migration.
I know a couple of people who have been victims of identity theft, and while they didn’t lose anything financially, there was a lot of work required afterwards to clear up the mess and put safeguards in place to ensure it didn’t happen again. What was amazing to me was that the thieves were able to do things like open store cards with information that was not only false, but incorrect (an entirely fictitious date of birth, for example).
A new infographic from Experian looks at the dangers of identity theft both on and offline, and provides statistics that show while most of us are aware of the risks, few of us actually do enough to properly safeguard our personal information. The findings probably won’t surprise you.
Ransomware, software that locks you out of your PC and asks for a fee in order to release it, has been around for quite a while. The first examples date back to the late 1980s but in its most recent form it started to gain popularity with malware writers in 2006, starting in western Europe and rapidly spreading to the rest of the world.
Finnish security specialist F-Secure has been working with the police on a joint investigation and reckons that just one case could be responsible for up to $800 million of damage and losses.
Malwarebytes products have been protecting PCs since 2008, but the company has now decided to broaden its horizons with the release of an Android app.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile still has plenty in common with its PC cousin, of course. The app is effective, free, and very easy to use: just launch it, click Scan and watch as your apps are checked for malicious code (we found this generally takes less than two minutes).
Access to the internet and the ease of communication it affords us is something we now take for granted. In a sense this is how it should be -- access to the internet really should be seen as a right. But in all too many countries around the world, citizens find that government and dictatorships block or restrict access to the internet, or close down sites that speak out against regimes. This is something Google is keen to be involved in stopping, and this week launched a series of tools to help in the fight.
It's an idea which echoes of the Alliance for Affordable Internet campaign to make internet access cheaper, and Internet.org's dream of connecting the world, but there is a rather more political edge to it.